Prep Professional Sports

SPORTS DIGEST: Rams to play first exhibition game at Coliseum

The Los Angeles Rams play their first game in their old home stadium Aug. 13 when they host the Dallas Cowboys at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in the first preseason game of the 2016 football season.

A crowd of more than 80,000 is anticipated for the 5 p.m. kickoff. The game also can be seen on ESPN.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has said that Case Keenum will open at quarterback for the Rams and that number one draft choice Jared Goff would probably play “about a half.” Running back Todd Gurley might not see any action at all.

The Rams know what he can do and don’t want to see him get hurt in a meaningless preseason game.

Like most preseason games, the Rams coaching staff plans to see as many people play as possible to begin evaluating who will make the final 53-man roster, which must be set by Sept. 4.

The Rams open the regular season Sept. 12 on a Monday night in the Bay Area against the San Francisco 49ers.

While on the Rams, by all accounts the Rams Family Day Aug. 6 in the Coliseum was a major success. There was no attendance taken but thousands of fans showed up to watch the Rams practice in the Coliseum for the first time.

The practice began at 3 p.m., with the gates opening at 1 p.m. And fans began lining up early to get prime seats.

“We rushed here right when we got to the gate,” Thousand Oaks resident Bryce Moon told CBS2 News. He and his three friends snagged seats on the 50-yard line.

Fans also got the chance to meet some Rams players and get autographs and pictures of the players.

The Rams conducted a normal practice session, including special teams work. The practice concluded with a 12-16-play “younger-type player live scrimmage,” which included tackling, something the team usually doesn’t do in practice, Fisher said.

“I wanted it to be a great experience for the fans, I want it to be a great experience for our staff and organization, but most importantly, a productive day for our players,” Fisher said before the scrimmage began.

After practice, Fisher told reporters at the scene, he felt “it was a big success. This was a great way to end this part of the training camp.”

“Folks had a blast,” he said. “And we got better as a team. It was also a cool experience for [the players].”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts congratulates rookie shortstop Corey Seager after a recent home run. Roberts has done a top-notch job handling a Dodgers roster that has seen 26 players go on the disabled list and Seager is having a season that could earn him rookie of the year and most valuable player consideration at the end of the season. (Courtesy photo)
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts congratulates rookie shortstop Corey Seager after a recent home run. Roberts has done a top-notch job handling a Dodgers roster that has seen 26 players go on the disabled list and Seager is having a season that could earn him rookie of the year and most valuable player consideration at the end of the season.
(Courtesy photo)

ON A ROLL: The Dodgers moved into a tie for first place with the San Francisco Giants Aug. 9 after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-3. The Giants lost earlier in the day to the Miami Marlins, 2-0.

The Dodgers trailed the Giants by eight games in late June when ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw went on the disabled list with a disc problem in his back. The Dodgers trailed the Giants by eight and a half games at the all star break.

Since then, the Dodgers are 13-9 and the Giants are a dreadful 7-16.

The Dodgers don’t face the Giants until Aug. 23, when they host a three-game series at Dodgers Stadium. After that, the two teams have six more games against each other, so there is still plenty of time to decide the National League Western Division race, but all the momentum is with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers have got back in the race despite the fact that 26 different players have spent time on the disabled list this year.

First-year manager Dave Roberts has done an outstanding job of patching the team together and getting contributions from everyone on the roster.

The newest hero is Rob Segedin, a career minor league until Aug. 7, when he drove in four runs in his major league debut while sparking a win over the Boston Red Sox.

Segedin who can play first and third base and the outfield, toiled in the New York Yankees farm system for seven years until the Dodgers acquired him in an off-season trade over the winter. He admits he almost quit baseball last summer when the Yankees demoted him from Triple A to Double A in the minor leagues.

He has had a fine season for Oklahoma City, the Dodgers Triple A affiliate, and answered the call to the majors when Scott Van Slyke was put on the disabled list with a wrist injury.

Roberts is still cutting and pasting a starting rotation together, and has used the bullpen better than a rookie manager should be expected to handle a bullpen.

The Dodgers bats, which were quiet before the all star break, have heated up along with the weather and are providing the pitching staff with plenty of run support.

Corey Seager is playing like a rookie of the year and most valuable player candidate at shortstop and is getting help from veterans Howie Kendrick, Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal.

Adrian Gonzalez is as steady as they come at first base.

All in all, the Dodgers looks they are ready for a fourth consecutive season in the post-season, something that has never happened in Dodger franchise history.

GOLDEN GIRLS: Every four years, the Olympics introduce us to another group of new athletes who, unlike the professional basketball, football and baseball players, toil in anonymity for most of the time, only to emerge on the world stage when everyone is paying attention for a change.

Women’s gymnastics is one of those sports that is ignored by most of us except during Olympic years and the U.S. team brought up the gold Aug. 9.

Simone Biles has replaced Gabby Douglas as the darling of the team, but all five U.S. gymnasts came through to win the team gold medal by more than 8 points over Russia. The margin was five points four years ago.

One of the early Olympic disappointments for the U.S. team came in women’s tennis, where Serena Williams lost in a third round match to Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine. Williams was eliminated, 6-4, 6-3, after her and big sister Venus lost in the opening round of the doubles competition.

The sisters won gold in the doubles four years ago in London and Serena won the singles gold as well.

Briana Clark, a 21-year-old Dorsey High School graduate will compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in September. Clark will run the 400 meters in the track and field competition. (Courtesy photo)
Briana Clark, a 21-year-old Dorsey High School graduate will compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in September. Clark will run the 400 meters in the track and field competition.
(Courtesy photo)

PARALYMPIAN: Once the Olympics end in Rio de Janeiro, the Paralympics move into the spotlight. One of the Paralympic athletes for the U.S. is a South Los Angeles native.

Briana Clark, 21, will compete in track and field in the 400 meters when the Paralympics start Sept. 2. She might also participate in the 4 by 400 meter relay.

Clark, who is autistic, qualified at the Paralympic Trials in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month.

She attended Coliseum Elementary School, View Park Middle School and Dorsey High Schoool, where she ran track. She also has attended Pasadena City College.

Briana gets her track talent from her mother, Rosalyn Bryant Clark, who won a silver medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in the 4 by 400 meter relay.

Bryant Clark attended Cal State Los Angeles and won five national championships at what was then called the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women from 1976 to 1978.

Now a Los Angeles police officer, Bryant Clark was inducted into the Cal State L.A. Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985.

While daughter Briana’s way to the Paralympics is paid for, her mom and dad are trying to raise funds so they can make the trip and watch their daughter.

Anyone interested in raising funds for the Clarks can call (323) 243-5820.